Wean More Pigs to Be More Profitable22 February 2013
UK - BPEX is re-focusing its efforts on the pig breeding herd with a ‘Breed +3’ initiative to help each herd wean an extra three pigs per sow year.
BPEX must help pig producers wean more pigs, if the industry is to manage its output and costs to reach its Two-Tonne Sow (2TS) target.
British pig producers are efficient at finishing pigs but are not producing enough pigs in the first place. Although progress has made in physical performance, a big gap remains between Britain and the rest of Europe.
It should be acknowledged that, with 40 per cent of the British breeding herd outdoors, the industry average is not perfectly comparable with other EU countries. But the numbers of pigs born and weaned have still only increased by around half a pig per sow per year on British units since 2006. Meanwhile, other countries have continued to increase their performance by at least two pigs.
BPEX knowledge transfer manager Lis Ravn said: "The aim is to help every producer move towards an extra three pigs per sow per year weaned, whether they’re currently about average at 23 pigs weaned or if they’re already at 27 and want to get to 30.
"We have identified some priorities to help achieve this. Keeping performance records and, importantly, spending time understanding the data is something that high-performing businesses have in common. As is doing all the ‘small’ daily things to a high standard, which is where training and skills development help too.
"All businesses, including the top performers, need to keep monitoring how they are doing and keep their finger on the pulse."
Local knowledge transfer meetings for pig producers this year will follow the Breed +3 theme, covering topics including: performance recording, gilt management, litter management and staff communication. BPEX will also be exploring new knowledge, innovations and technologies, offering producers the chance to see them first hand on farms in the UK and abroad.